Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jib's Kebabs

Recently it was my birthday and I wondered what I could possibly prepare that would be different from the traditional jollof rice and chicken, when I suddenly had an Eureka moment - why not make beef kebabs and Vicky's hybrid salad for the few guests coming? So I went to the market and came back loaded the day before.

The thing about it is that you can make it in such a way that even those abstaining from pepper [ulcer patients and the likes] can still eat it without fear. I had to come up with that formula because one of my guests, an Italian, did not eat anything pepperish at all - he always ran in the other direction every time he was offered Nigerian food because through experience he'd learnt that even when they assure him that there's no pepper, he always found out that his definition of 'no pepper' was different from theirs.

Anyway, this isn't the conventional method for making kebabs, but I find this the better way [for me] because
1. The beef is actually cooked - doesn't lessen the appeal, but makes it healthier to consume.
2. I found a substitute for that peppery taste I love without compromising. Everyone was happy!

Green pepper, cubed strips
Red bell pepper [tatase], cubed strips
Onions , cubed strips, and some in slices for the frying
Tomatoes, hard ones, sliced
Beef, large cubes [boiled in thyme, curry and diced ginger]
Ginger, grated [plenty of it]
Kebab sticks [i used the disposable ones]
Spices [maggi, thyme, curry, salt]
Tomato paste
Vegetable Oil

Step 1: Drain the boiled beef of its stock and refrigerate. Sprinkle all the sauces you want to add [please do not put pepper unless you are sure all your guests wont mind] at the bottom of a large bowl. Place the beef, green pepper, grated ginger and red pepper in the bowl, tossing it all around every now and then to get the sauce around each piece. Refrigerate the mixture for at least two hours - this will help ensure the spices are absorbed into the mixture.

Step 2: Place a large frying pan on medium heat. Add oil, then salt after the oil has heated up. Add the onion slices and stir. Add the tomato paste just before the onion slices get too brown [this allows the onion flavor to be absorbed by the oil]. Remember that the paste is supposed to be just enough to coat the mixture and make it reddish - not a stew, just a coating. Add the beef stock [from the boiled beef] until the paste is less thick and allow to cook.

Step 3: Soak the kebab sticks in water. It is preferable to cut up the tomatoes and the remaining onions while the rest of the cooking is going on to ensure their freshness. After cutting them up, set aside in a bowl.

Step 4: Bring out the bowl mixture. Toss the contents again and again. Put the mixture into the hot cooking tomato paste, reduce to low heat and start stirring. cook this way for about 5 to 8 minutes [make sure the peppers are not wilted looking], set down. Wait for the mixture to cool down - it should look colorful already.

Step 5: Start putting the items on the kebab stick - alternate, using the beef as dividers. I used this sequence - onion cube, beef, green pepper cube, red pepper cube, tomato slice, onion cube beef...and so on.

Step 6: Place the kebabs on a tray and they are ready to eat! Serve them with Salad or Rice!

Vicky's hybrid salad

Well, I have recently been entertaining guests almost every weekend since after the wedding, and apart from fried rice, I serve goat meat peppersoup, but recently my husband came up with a fantastic salad he calls 'Vicky's hybrid salad'. Its so easy to make - you need about five ingredients only!

The fruit in it adds another flavor, and the nutrients packed into the fresh veggies are amazing! Some folks even add grated ginger, giving it the peppery effect!

Onions [optional]
Banana, like half a bunch
Salad tray

Step 1: Rinse the Carrots, Lettuce and Cucumber. Soak all in salty water to kill any germs.

Step 2: Grate the carrots. Put into a bowl. Peel the bananas. Sliced thinly. Put into another bowl.

Step 3: Slice the cucumber with the skin on preferably [the nutritionists say there's a lot of nutrients we throw away when we skin them]. Put in another bowl.

Step 4: Shred the lettuce by hand into small pieces. Put into yet another bowl.

Step 5: If you want the tomatoes very visible in the salad, then slice them, otherwise dice them. Put into another bowl. If you included onions, follow the same pattern as for the tomatoes and put in another bowl.

Step 6: Cut the cabbage lengthwise - hold the whole ball of cabbage, and, using a sharp knife, cut it lengthwise into thin strips. the cutting direction will go through all the layers in the cabbage ball and give you a thin slice each time.

Step 7: By now you should have at least five different bowls. Get your tray and arrange the ingredients layer by layer. cover and chill.

This salad is best served with Dolly Ketchup - I know I may be promoting a particular brand, but believe me, Heinz does NOT make the cut for this salad. We have tried it and even our guests leave with the ketchup name each time because its different - one guest left with our remaining ketchup!
If you can't find that, the key is to look for a ketchup that has more stuff in it than ordinary Heinz [sorry Heinz!]. We have not tried it with mayonnaise or salad cream [because in my opinion those will remove the focus from the salad itself in terms of taste], but vignagrette is also an option that's healthy and safe.

Feel free to add other fruits in your area, or that you prefer.

Goatmeat Peppersoup

Hi everyone! I know its been a long while and I apologize for the break in transmission. I promised myself that I would add to this food blog more often this year, so here I am!

The recipe today is goatmeat peppersoup. Actually this is the quick version, for those of you, like me, that have had to deal with lots of hungry guests with little or no time! And they want FOOD, not snacks, so here goes.

Goat meat [of course]
Ginger, shredded/grated
Spices - thyme, curry, salt, maggi, powder pepper/chilli
Onions, diced
Red pepper [tatase], diced
Yam, cut into long strips, like large-size pot


Step 1: Rinse the meat, carefully washing off any 'attachments' [e.g. wood chips from the butcher's board]. Put in a large pot, add all your spices, and the yam strips. Add plenty of water.

Step 2: Place on medium heat and allow to boil. When the meat is almost tender, add the onions and the pepper, stir and allow to soften.

Step 3: By the time the meat is tender and edible, the yam should be very soft. Open the pot to allow some of the water to evaporate. Stir, and break some of the yam strips into smaller pieces.

Step 4: Serve in soup bowls. Its a fantastic prequel to Jollof or fried rice!